Blackjack Principles and the "Game" of Sales

Blackjack is one of the few casino games where you have an almost even chance of leaving the table a winner. Most business owners and sales professionals would love 50/50 odds when attempting to close a sale. Let’s look at the three key principles of Blackjack and see how they can be applied to the game of sales:

1. Understand the rules of the game

Blackjack has rules that dictate how and when the cards are dealt, which combinations of cards constitute a winning hand, and how the dealer must play his hand. Additionally, mathematical probabilities establish a set of “rules” you must follow to maximize your chances of winning. By sticking to the rules, you reduce the house advantage to only a few percent.

Key factors: In order to follow the rules, you must be emotionally detached from the process, and you must follow the rules consistently. If the rules specify that you always split Aces and Eights, then you must always split Aces and Eights. If the probabilities specify that you should hold on 14 when the dealer’s up card is six or less, that’s what you must do. You can’t play hunches. You can’t second-guess the probabilities.

2. Never risk more than you can afford to lose

The wisdom of the rule should be obvious. If it’s unwise, as the adage suggests, to “put all your eggs in one basket,” it’s just as foolish to bet all your money (especially if it’s your last dollar) on one hand.

3. Know when to walk away

If you play the game long enough, you’ll likely notice a sine-wave-like pattern to your winnings. Sometimes you’re up, sometimes you’re even, and sometimes you’re down. Unfortunately, the pattern isn’t a perfect sine wave with a fixed and predictable frequency and amplitude. So, you must set a goal in advance to walk away when you’re either up or down by a specific amount. In either case, you walk away a winner–measured by your actual winnings or simply the fact that you survived to play another day – or perhaps at another table.

Applying the winning principles of Blackjack for sales success

1. Understand the rules of the game.

A cardinal rule of the game stipulates that you don’t invest your time pursuing low-probability opportunities, regardless of how much you want or need a sale. As in Blackjack, you must remain emotionally detached from the process. If the opportunity doesn’t measure up…well then, it doesn’t measure up, and it’s time to move on and find one that does.

Low-probability opportunities exist when:

– There isn’t a compelling reason for the prospect to buy your product or service or buy it from YOU

– The prospect isn’t willing or able to make the required investment to obtain your product or service

– You can’t meet all of the prospect’s criteria for buying your product or service or buying it from you rather than a competitor.

2. Never risk more than you can afford to lose.

“Bet” your time wisely. Don’t invest all your time pursuing one opportunity. That’s not a winning strategy. You should have more than one active opportunity in your pipeline.

3. Know when to walk away.

Sometimes it’s not in the cards. Some sales opportunities will progress predictably and perhaps quickly, and you’ll add a new name to your client list. Other opportunities will drag on. Some prospects won’t make commitments or, if they do, they won’t keep them. In those instances, you need to cut your losses (of time and energy). You should close the file, walk away, and invest your time identifying other potentially more viable opportunities.

When you play by the rules, you can bet on the outcome – more closed sales, more often.